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Greek Gods and Goddesses
Transcript of Greek Gods and Goddesses
In The Beginning
In the beginning, there was Chaos - darkness.
Gradually, Gaia - the Earth - emerged from the Chaos and created the world.
Ouranos became the Sky.
They had many children together, including the giants and the Cyclopes.
Their last children were the 12 Titans, who became the first gods.
Ouranos feared his children because they were very strong.
He was afraid that they would try to take over the universe.
So he trapped them in Tartarus, deep in the depths of the Earth.
Gaia loved her children and was upset by Ouranos's cruelty.
She asked her children to fight back, but most of them were too scared.
Only the youngest, Kronos, was willing to fight.
He waited until his father slept and then attacked him.
The Titans were able to escape, and Kronos became the King of the Titans.
Kronos and his Children
Kronos and his sister Rhea married and had children.
He had been warned that he would be defeated by his children.
To prevent this, he swallowed each one as soon as they were born.
He did this 5 times, so when the 6th child, Zeus, was born, Rhea was determined to save him.
When Kronos demanded that she give him the child, Rhea wrapped up a rock and gave it to him to swallow instead.
She hid Zeus in a cave until he could grow up and save his brothers and sisters.
When he was old enough, Zeus gave Kronos a potion that made him cough out all of his children.
They came out alive and safe and ready for revenge.
The Battle of the Gods and Titans
Zeus and his brothers and sisters fought a vicious battle against their father and the other Titans.
The war lasted for 10 years, but neither side could win.
Then Gaia told Zeus to free her other children that Kronos had imprisoned in Tartarus.
He freed the Cyclopes. In gratitude, they gave gifts to Zeus and his brothers.
Zeus was given the lightning bolt.
Poseidon was given the trident, which controlled the seas.
Hades was given the helmet of invisibility.
With their gifts and new allies, Zeus and the young gods finally won the war.
Ruling the World
Zeus locked the Titans away in Tartarus.
He and his brothers and sisters built a palace on Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Greece.
The three brothers divided up the world.
Poseidon would rule the rivers and seas.
Hades would be the King of the Dead and rule the underworld,
Zeus, as King of the Gods, would rule both the heavens and the Earth.
Each of the 12 gods had a throne on Olympus, from where they could watch over the world and the people below.
They became known as the Olympians.
Hera married Zeus and became queen of the gods.
She was the goddess of marriage and childbirth, but couldn't stop her own husband from being unfaithful.
Zeus had many affairs and children with other women, both goddesses and humans.
Hera was so jealous that she often punished his girlfriends and their children.
Hera placed doubt in Semele's mind about Zeus's true identity. Semele asked Zeus to show her his true godly appearance. This was more than a mortal could bear and she burned to death.
When Zeus was dating Io, he turned her into a cow to protect her from Hera's jealousy. But Hera held her prisoner and sent flies to bite and torment her.
The god of the sea and of horses.
Poseidon was in love with Demeter, who turned herself into a mare to run away from him. He turned himself into a stallion to capture her.
Poseidon was moody and spiteful. When he was angry, he sent terrible storms or floods to punish people.
He competed with Athena over who would be the patron of the city of Athens.
The underworld, ruled by Hades.
The Asphodel Fields was where ordinary people went when they died.
The Elysian Fields was where very good or heroic people went. It was a golden, blissful place.
When people die, they enter Tartarus by crossing the River Styx. They had to pay the boatman, Charon, to ferry them across.
They entered the gates guarded by the three-headed dog, Cerberus, who prevented people from trying to leave.
If you were evil, you were punished. Sisyphus was required to roll a boulder up a hill. When he reached the top, it rolled back down.
Tantalus was required to stand in a pool of water with fruit hanging just above his head. If he tried to eat or drink, the fruit and water moved so he couldn't reach it. He was cursed to be hungry and thirsty forever.
Goddess of wisdom and war (strategy)
Zeus swallowed Metis, Athena's mother, when she was pregnant to try to avoid a prophesy that her son would defeat him.
Years later, Zeus had a headache and asked Hephaestus to hit him in the head with an axe.
Athena popped out, fully grown and dressed for battle. She became Zeus's favorite child.
Athena was also the goddess of weaving.
When Arachne claimed that she was a better weaver than Athena, they held a contest.
God of poetry, music, archery and prophesy
At Apollo's temple at Delphi, people would ask the prophets (oracles) questions about the future. Apollo would speak the truth through them.
Hera was jealous that Zeus had an affair with their mother, Leto. Hera wouldn't let her give birth on solid land.
Twin brother of Artemis. They were born on an island.
Goddess of hunting and chastity
Artemis vowed to remain a maiden forever. She refused to get married.
Orion, a great hunter, wanted to start a relationship with her. She killed him, instead, and Zeus put him in the stars as a constellation.
Her followers must also remain chaste. They were allowed to leave and Artemis would bless their marriage, but if they were caught with a boyfriend, she would punish them.
God of war (battles).
Ares fell in love with Aphrodite, who was already married to Hephaestus.
His children were just as bloodthirsty as he was.
His sons Deimos (god of terror) and Phobos (god of fear) spread fear and terror across the land.
His sister Eris was the goddess of discord.
When Kronos defeated his father Ouranos, he threw his father's body into the sea.
Goddess of love and beauty.
The water began to foam, and Aphrodite rose out of the water.
The waves carried her to land and as she walked out of the water, flowers sprang up beneath her feet.
Anyone he shot with gold-tipped arrows would fall in love. If he shot someone with lead-tipped arrows, he could make them hate someone.
Aphrodite is always accompanied by her son Eros (Cupid), the god of love.
Aphrodite was often attended to by the Graces, three female goddesses of charm, joy and beauty.
God of fire, metalworking, and volcanoes
She threw him off Olympus. He fell for a week before he reached the ground.
When Hephaestus was born, his mother, Hera, thought that he was too ugly.
Since he was immortal, he couldn't die, but would be crippled forever.
He refused, until Zeus convinced him.
When Hera saw the beautiful jewels that he could make in his forge, she felt bad and asked him to come back to Olympus.
Zeus ordered him to marry Aphrodite, because he was worried that all the other gods would fight over her.
However, she was in love with Ares and Hepheastus couldn't make her stay faithful to him.
He made a net of gold chains and the next time they snuck off together, he caught them in the net.
He called all the other gods to judge the couple, but instead, they just laughed.
Goddess of agriculture and grain
One afternoon, her daughter Persephone was picking flowers. Hades saw her and fell in love.
The earth burst open and he came roaring out in his chariot. He kidnapped Persephone, and dragged her back to Tartarus with him.
Demeter was devastated that her daughter was gone, and began searching the earth for her. She neglected her job of making grain grow. The crops died, and people began to starve.
When she finally discovered what had happened, she went to Zeus and demanded that he force Hades to return her daughter to her.
Zeus agreed, on one condition: that the girl hadn’t eaten anything in Tartarus. Unfortunately, Hades had tricked her into eating 6 pomegranate seeds.
Zeus declared that Persephone would be able to stay with her mother for 6 months of the year. The other 6 months, she must stay in Tartarus as Hades’ queen.
When Persephone is in Tartarus, Demeter mourns for her and the crops die during fall and winter.
When she comes out and rejoins her mother, Demeter is so happy that the crops begin to grow again during spring and summer.
God of travelers, thieves and liers
The day he was born, he crawled out of his cradle and stole cattle that belonged to Apollo.
On the way home, he killed a tortoise and made the first lyre out of its shell.
He then hid the cattle and crawled back into his cradle before his mother woke up.
Apollo demanded his cattle back, but Hermes explained that he was just a baby and couldn't have done it.
When Apollo got angry, Hermes played a song on the lyre he had just invented.
Apollo was delighted, and let Hermes keep the cattle in exchange for the lyre.
Zeus needed to keep Hermes out of trouble, so he gave him a winged helmet and sandals and gave him a job as messenger of the gods.
It was also his job to lead the souls of the dead to Tartarus. He led them to the River Styx and then turned them over to Charon, the ferryman.
God of wine, fertility, and drama
Every year, Athens held a festival in honor of Dionysus, which included a playwriting contest.
The Maenads were a group of women who worshiped Dionysus. They were often out of control, as they celebrated by drinking and dancing wildly.
Pentheus was a man who refused to worship Dionysus. His mother was a Maenad who saw her son in the woods and, in a drunken frenzy, killed him.
When Hephaestus trapped his mother, Hera, Dionysus gave him some wine and convinced him to let her go. In gratitude, Hera allowed Dionysus a throne on Olympus.
The goddess of hearth, home, and family
Hestia guarded the hearth on Olympus, making sure that the fire never went out.
She invented the first house, and all Greek households had a shrine to Hestia, hoping that she would watch over their home and family.
Hestia didn't like conflict, and always tried to keep the peace between her siblings.
When Dionysus wanted to join Olympus, she voluntarily gave up her spot to him.
Like Artemis and Athena, she refused to get married and would not favor one god over another.
Zeus rewarded her by giving her a great honor. The first part of every sacrifice to the gods was dedicated to her.
He gave them a fountain with undrinkable seawater, and she gave them the olive tree. When they chose Athena, he flooded the city.
Although Athena had to admit that Arachne's tapesty was almost perfect, she still punished the girl for the sin of hubris (pride) and beat her.
Upset, Arachne tried to hang herself, but Athena felt bad and showed her mercy.
She turned Arachne into the first spider, and the rope became her spiderweb, which she would weave from then on.
Prometheus Creates Mankind
Prometheus was the Titan that had helped Zeus in the war against his brother, Kronos. His name means "Forethought."
Zeus had tried to create people several times, but each attempt had ended in failure, so he asked Prometheus to try.
He created men out of clay that looked like the gods, so that the humans and gods could better understand each other.
Zeus declared that mankind must make sacrifices to the gods to appease them and to win their favor.
Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He sacrificed a bull and divided it into 2 bags. One bag contained all the bones with a little meat on top. The other bag held the rest of the meat with the stomach on top.
Zeus was angry that Prometheus had tricked him, but afterwards mankind got to keep most of the meat of an animal and burned a little meat and the bones for Zeus.
He asked Zeus to choose which bag he wanted. Zeus chose the one with the meat on top and bones underneath.
Zeus was so upset that he forbade the gods to give mankind the secret of fire, so they shivered in the dark and ate raw meat.
Prometheus felt bad for mankind, so he stole fire from the hearth on Olympus and shared the secret with mankind.
With fire, men were able to warm themselves and cook their food. They were also able to begin metalworking and make tools and weapons.
Zeus was furious with Prometheus for disobeying his order.
He had Prometheus chained to a rock. Every day, an eagle would rip out his liver. Each night it would grow back and the torment would continue the next day.
Centuries later, Hercules came upon Prometheus during a quest, killed the eagle and cut his chains.
Zeus also decided to punish mankind for accepting Prometheus's gift of fire. He created the first woman, named Pandora, which means "a gift to all."
He gave her to Epimetheus, Prometheus's brother, who name means "Afterthought." Prometheus had warned his brother not to accept anything from Zeus, but he welcomed her anyway and married her.
As a wedding gift, Zeus gave her a jar, but told her that she must never open it. She was very curious, and although she held out for several days, she had to know what was inside.
Eventually she opened the jar, and out flew all the evils of the world: sickness, age, hate, sin, and death.
She quickly slammed the lid shut, but it was too late. All of mankind would suffer for her curiosity.
Then she heard something fluttering around in the jar. She opened it again, and out flew Hope, which would prevent mankind from despair.